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Critical Thinking

Think Critically with Data

Critical Thinking - Think Critically with Data

Big Idea

Do you know how to think critically? Critical thinking can help you understand complex topics. Critical thinking requires the ability to look at a topic from multiple points of view. Critical thinkers evaluate information carefully to make sure it is reliable. They use information carefully to make sure they draw logical conclusions. Thinking critically can help you be more successful in school, work, and life. Anyone can become a critical thinker by learning some basic skills. Learn how to use critical thinking skills to understand a complex topic.

In this module:

  • Learn the skills you need to think critically about complex topics
  • Learn how a poll collects data on what people think about a topic
  • Choose a topic that a poll could help you better understand
  • Write effective research questions on your topic
  • Locate credible online sources of information on your topic


Activity 1: Thinking Skills >
Have you ever been asked what you think about a topic? When a topic is complex, what you think can be less important than how you think. Critical thinking can help you understand complex topics. Learn the basic skills you need to think critically. 

Activity 2: Polling Data >
What does thinking critically with data mean? Data is information that has been collected by observation or measurement. Polling is a formal way to collect data on people’s opinions. Learn how to use critical thinking skills to interpret polling data. 

Activity 3: Topic Choice >
Do people’s beliefs about a topic matter? Sometimes, people’s opinions are important data. Think of a topic that interests you. Would other people have opinions on the topic? You can research the topic and poll other students to collect data on their opinions. 

Activity 4: Research Questions >
Research questions help keep you focused on specific goals. Learn to write different types of research questions to get different kinds of information. Write effective research questions to help you learn about your topic and then poll other students about your topic. 

Activity 5: Online Research >
An important part of research is looking for information about your topic. You want information that helps you answer your research questions. Learn how to evaluate the credibility of sources and select the most reliable information. 

Look Back >
Reflect on what you learned in this module. Are you ready to collect data? Use the checklist to make sure your tasks are complete. Use the rubric to assess your topic and research questions. Talk about what you learned and how you did your work.

Look Ahead

Checklist: Before you begin, review the checklist for this module. Use the checklist to make sure that you complete all the tasks for each activity. 

See the checklist (doc) >


Rubric: Before you begin, review the rubric for this module. Use the rubric to help you understand what is important to know and do. 

See the rubric (doc) >